Tag Archives: Lake Mattamuskeet

Clouds Reflected on Lake Mattamuskeet

I took a drive up the coast a while back and while up that way I paid a visit to Lake Matamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. While I was basically just doing a quick scouting trip on my way back home, I stopped along the causeway to take a couple shots. If you’ve looked a many North Carolina landscape photos you’ve likely seen this view several times. Even though I knew it was one of those locations that has been photographed to the point of saturation, the mirror like water combined with the lovely sky was just too picturesque to pass by. Below are my interpretation of this classic North Carolina scene.

Clouds on Lake Mattamuskeet.

Clouds on Lake Mattamuskeet.

Lake Mattamuskeet in Black and White.

Lake Mattamuskeet in Black and White.

Posted in General Photography, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Wild Horses In a Rare Crystal Coast Snow

Depending upon one’s point of view the Crystal Coast was blessed or damned with a winter storm recently. Getting enough snow to cover the ground is really a fairly rare occurrence here. For a few years now I’ve been hoping to get the chance to photograph the wild horses of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve in snow. Now my preference would be to be there as snow was falling but that didn’t happen this time. I was able, however, to get some shots of the mustangs with snow on the ground and ice covering much of the marsh grass.

To reach the reserve I had to put my kayak in the water. I’m sure a few of the fine people of Beaufort were wondering what was up with the crazy man was doing putting a kayak in the water on a day like this. But if you think about it, the kayak was invented by native people living in places like Alaska and Canada. These little boats were basically designed for cold weather use.

I really expected to find the horses in one of the wooded hammock areas, trying to stay out of the cold. I found a few, however, feeding not far from the main watering hole area. During the winter the herd certainly spreads out about the entire reserve. I rarely find a large number of them together this time of the year. Below are a few of my favorite shots from the trip.

Wild Horse of NC

Wild horse drinks from a watering hole along the NC coast.

Frozen food for a wild horse.

A Wild Horse in a rare Crystal Coast snow.

Wild mustang on a barrier island in NOrth Carolina.

Wild stallion feeding on marsh grass.

Wild horse in North Carolina.

Wild horses feeding along on snow covered marsh grass.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wild Horses, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wild Horse Fight Sequence

To those not familiar with horse behavior it seems to happen in a flash. Teeth gnash, sharp, hard hooves flail, thousands of pounds of muscle, bone and hide explode in a vicious battle over dominance and breeding rights. It’s a scene that’s played out for as long as life has walked the planet. For those that witness one of these epic clashes it is clear why Federal, State and Local laws set boundaries on how close humans can approach wild animals. You really wouldn’t want to be caught between a pair of these battling animals.

Those of us that pay our dues and spend hour after hour observing and photographing these magnificent animals, such dramatic events rarely just happen instantaneously. We’re able to read the pre-fight behavior, the posturing and taunting that takes place before the action begins. It’s that kind of intimate knowledge that allows us to be ready to capture these duels as stills and videos. This is a simple truth that applies to all wildlife photography; knowledge of your subject substantially improves the odds of capturing interesting, compelling images. To improve ones success to failure ratio one needs to do their homework and pay their dues.

So how does one gain knowledge and pay their dues if they don’t live near their intended subject or cannot commit the hours of observation? There are really three choices: Take your chances, go it on your own and hope to get lucky. Hire an experience guide to help get you in the right place at the right time. Sign-up for a photography workshop dealing with the subject you’re interested in photographing. Of course doing a little homework doesn’t hurt either. Read a few books and articles, watch some video, follow some blogs… in short gather some information to give you a head start in your quest to make exciting photos of wild animals in their natural environments.

The following is a sequence of images from a recent wild horse fight I witnessed.

A clash of titans - a pair of wild stallions fight on the tidal flats near Beaufort, North Carolina

Wild horses battling over the right to breed on North Carolina's Outer Banks

Wild mustang fight near Beaufort, NC

Wild horses in combat along the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Dueling wild mustangs along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina

The wild horse fight ends

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Wild Horses, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Time the tides right and catch the wild horses out on the tidal flats at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve and you have the perfect opportunity to include some reflections in your composition. This location really is perfect for this technique and the visual rewards are high, or at least are in my opinion. Below are a few examples from a recent trip.

If you like what you see and you have the time this coming weekend, I do have a couple of spots open in my Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop. This is one of the wonderful locations we’ll be visiting during the workshop. I’d love to have you join me on this, the last scheduled workshop of the summer.

Reflection can be a strong compositional tool.

This is the perfect location to make photos of wild horses that include reflection. Wild Horse of North Carolina's Crystal Coast

Wild horses are such beautiful animals.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Waterfowl Images: Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

In my previous posts about Lake Mattamuskeet NWR I didn’t post any images of waterfowl… and lets be honest here what this location is best known for is waterfowl. So not wanting to disappoint here are a few images of swans and ducks… a compilation of my last two trips to the refuge.

A Tundra Swan flies above Lake Mattmuskeet NWR.

Female duck swims in a canal at Lake Mattmuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.

A pair of swans swim in the lake.

A Pintail Duck flies past my blind.

Two swans fly over Lake Mattmuskeet in Hyde county, North Carolina.

Posted in Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , |

Bald Eagles in North Carolina: Flight Photos

Not so many years ago if someone said they’d seen a bald eagle their sanity would’ve been questioned. However, thanks to the hard work of conservationists around the country viewing an eagle is not such an unusual sight. In 1995 the Bald Eagle was reclassified from “endangered” to “threatened.” On June 28, 2007 this majestic bird was removed from the Endangered and Threatened Species List. Females are up to 25% larger than adult males. Females may have a wingspan up to 96″ while adult males can have wingspans as small as 66″. Adult Bald Eagles, both male and female, have dark brown/black bodies with a white head and tail. In the wild thier average lifespan is around 20 years though at least one captive bird lived for nearly 50 years. While their primary diet is fish they will take advantage of carrion, particularly in the winter. They have been known to “steal” fish from egrets, herons and other birds. Below are pictured an adult and an immature Bald Eagle. While both were photographed near Lake Mattamuskeet I have seen Bald Eagles on three occassions around the Crystal Coast.

Once and endangered species an adult Bald Eagle soars above Lake Mattmuskeet in North Carolina.

This is a young eagle, I have seen these birds around Carteret county / North Carolina's Crystal Coast on several occassions.

Posted in Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , |